DURBAN - Graca Machel, the widow of former president Nelson Mandela, has bemoaned the treatment of women all over the world.
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Christian Amanpour, she tackled issues affecting women around the world, tweeting world leaders, the centenary year of Nelson Mandela and world leaders lacking courage.
On #MeToo and women’s rights:
“I have to say that one of the biggest challenges of human family today is exactly to accept and to respect the dignity of women, as full human beings who are not second class or are not treated just as half human. What happens here in the United States is happening also all over the globe. You would wonder why we have so high rates of suicide, high rates of harassment, of sexual harassment, because women are seen as if they are objects, they are not people with dignity.
“What is happening with us, that after all these years in which we developed the values of human rights, of respect and such and such, it's exactly between human relations. It's no longer the laws and the institutions. It's in human relations where we fail to accept one another as equal. I think it's a big issue of our times,” said Machel.
On her daughter being allegedly assaulted:
"She can only see with one eye. This is a tough issue for me to talk about. Perhaps I was told through the person that assaulted my daughter that it is not because she was born in the family she was born, we are absolutely facing the same kind of challenges like any other family in any other level of society. This has humbled us. Your question is accountability. Christian I will tell you, institutions are not prepared to be accountable when it comes to women. No. Not at all. The very few cases which are taken from A to Z and you can say justice has been served. Very few cases.
"There's all kinds of tricks, if my daughter could tell the story you would be horrified, precisely as you are saying, she is my daughter, she is known in Mozambique and she had to go through all this, but that was perhaps the lesson that we should take. That is why she has decided to establish an organisation to help women who are survivors of violence. It's to say, women are not treated as full human beings, with respect, with dignity," said Machel.
Lack of courage from world leaders
“Courage. Nelson Mandela, for me, is Madiba. I see Madiba's leadership as the highest reference of courageous leadership in the face of extremely challenging situations, to go beyond himself and put the lives and the interests of his people at the highest level and prepare to sacrifice personally and even to take risks which his leadership could be questioned by his colleagues but take the courage to do the right thing at the right time.
“I think we lack this today. We do not have anyone who can take the courage to say, ‘The war in Syria has to stop.’ To say, ‘It's unacceptable what is happening in Yemen and why in South Sudan, I mean, agreement after agreement nothing holds, and people continue to be killed, displaced, refugees. I could go on and on. That lack of courageous leadership, to do the right thing at the right time, I feel is what is missing,” said Machel.
On Mandela’s 100th year:
“The concentration of celebrations on his 100 years, it has not been easy, because things come back, you now, relive the moments together, you are forced to think about who he is, the place he has in history and it is mixed feelings when he is being celebrated but mostly at the personal level, I miss him most,” she said.
On President Trump and current democratic systems:
“I think there is a kind of perversion of the rules through which we elect, which means we select those who should be the best amongst the best precisely to defend and to protect the interests of the majority,” she said.